Work on Bougainville's disability policy begins

Work has started on a disability policy to support people living with disabilities in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Department of Community Development in partnership with the Bougainville Disabled Persons Organisation (BDPO) recently held consultations with people living with disabilities on the policy.

The consultation provided insight on key issues, barriers and enabling factors that affect people living with disabilities such as poor access to services, and captured their aspirations for this policy.

The consultations and technical development of the policy was supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

Community Development Secretary, Mana Kakarouts, is a key advocate for advancing the rights of people living with disabilities through the policy and said the department will continue to work with partners.

“The ABG is committed to creating equitable opportunities for all Bougainvilleans – including people living with disabilities – to participate in economic, social and community development,” Kakarouts said.

“The policy will support the development of strategies and actions to strengthen inclusive service delivery and the implementation of disability programs.”

BDPO President, Sione Atua, said the disability policy will see increased coordination, support services and awareness on disability.

“We want to promote an equitable and inclusive Bougainville,” Atua stated.

“Our short-term goal is to focus on awareness, get ourselves established and continue our advocacy.

“Inclusivity ultimately results in a happier, more productive society.”

The disability policy recognises the rights of people living with disabilities to enjoy equal opportunities and to fully participate in all aspects of social, economic, cultural and political life.

 It will also provide the basis for the ABG to deliver the right services to people living with disability in areas such as health and education.

(Consultations were held through the first half of 2020 to inform the development of the Disability Policy)

Press release